I was doing a project in St. Petersburg and I had to go at the beginning of December. Since it was our anniversary year, and we did something special every 1st of the month, I surprised Madeline with this trip. We started with one night in St. Pete while I did some work for the first two days, and then we moved on to Orlando and spent an evening and two full days at Universal Studios. We had never been there before, so it was a lot of fun. On the last day, we went to Celebration and Walt Disney World, where we saw my sister, niece, and grand-niece.

2011—St. Pete & Orlando


Flying into Tampa, we saw some cool sand bars in the bay (left). After working on the first day, we drove to downtown St. Pete and checked out the view (right).

I picked to stay in a Residence Inn by Marriott on Treasure Island, in the hopes that it would be nice enough to enjoy a view of the ocean. Luckily, it was, and although the temps were cool, the sun was warm.

Hurricane’s restaurant in St. Pete Beach

The beautiful Marriott Lakeshore Reserve, a Marriott Vacation Club property in Orlando

Christmastime at Universal was very festive.

Of course, our primary purpose of going to Universal was to go to Islands of Adventure and see Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, better known to us as Harry Potter World. Madeline rode the Forbidden Journey seven times over the course of the trip. Some people wait 3 hours for the ride, but there were virtually no lines there or anywhere else in the two parks since it was the week after Thanksgiving and a couple of weeks before kids got out for Christmas break.

There were other rides and things to do other than Harry Potter, like the Incredible Hulk coaster at Islands of Adventure.

As usual, I was picked to participate in a show

It was the final month of Universal’s famous Jaws ride, so we did it twice

The Macy’s parade was also there, straight from New York

Celebration is an interesting town, so we had lunch there.


Tracy and Lucy were anxiously awaiting their time at Disney.

Text Box: Back to Orlando